Low-Grade Acrylic to Top Notch Oil Ground
I have been fighting an ongoing war with acrylic grounds for years now. Acrylic ground is what most students begin with and it creates many hardships. It's dry and sucks in oil paint. This is sadly what drives many young artists away from painting.
It's much like young musicians playing on a poorly made violin. It's true that a well crafted violin won't make you play like Mozart, but it goes a long way in making it easier to learn.
The beauty of Old Master paintings is, in large part, because they worked on oil grounds. The difficulty with an oil ground is the fact that it's more work to prep and you need to have a 'sizing' (such as rabbit skin glue) already put onto the canvas. The sizing creates a barrier between the raw canvas and the oil paint. I know it's more work, but to work on an oil ground creates an unparalleled surface.
So what can you do with your poor quality acrylic ground?
You can apply a coat of oil ground directly on top of it and create a beautiful painting surface!
For this demo, I had some old acrylic primed panels that weren't doing me any good. Instead of throwing them away, I decided to use the acrylic priming as a sizing, much the way an oil ground would be applied to any canvas. As a tip, I have learned to apply a good amount of the oil ground in order to cover over the dry acrylic ground.
Use a small amount of turpenoid to spread any oil ground of your choosing onto the acrylic. I prefer to mix my lead oil ground with a small amount of ivory black and burnt sienna to create a warm gray. Mix the oil ground with any of your oil colors to create any colored ground that you like; or, leave it white.
After you have coated your grounds, let them dry for a while (10-15 Days or until totally dry). I know that sounds like a long drying time, but you need to be patient because you want the ground to be totally dry before working.
I really can't encourage you to do this enough because there's nothing like working on an oil ground.